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Electronics in Firearms?

PotomacBob

When it comes to guns, I'm a know-nothing. Can someone tell me whether electronics have made their way into firearms? If so, what do the electronics accomplish for the weapon? Is a scope electronic?

Dominions Son

@PotomacBob

When it comes to guns, I'm a know-nothing. Can someone tell me whether electronics have made their way into firearms?


Yes, in a number of ways.

Various "smart gun" technologies that use either some form of bio-metrics or an external physical token such as a ring, to lock/unlock the gun's firing mechanism so only the owner can use it. The reliability of such systems is debatable, but there are a number of them available on the market.

On company devised and tried to market to the military a system that rather than using a traditional magazine, stacks multiple rounds of caseless* ammunition nose to tail in the barrel and uses an electronic ignition system to fire the rounds front to back.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_Storm

*caseless ammo uses a propellant that is compressed into a hard solid form around the rear of the bullet without using a metal casing for containment.

Is a scope electronic?


The majority of scopes in common use are strictly optical, however, there are things like starlight night vision scopes, red dot scopes, and holographic sights, that have built in electronics that drive important functions.

There are also specialized laser sights that use a laser in wavelength outside of visible light combined with a special scope that has filters in it to make the laser dot visible to the shooter without it being visible to a potential target.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@PotomacBob

I know nothing about guns, but don't some rifles shine a red dot on its target? That must be electronic.

You see it all the time in movies. A red dot on his forehead or a cluster of red dots on his chest.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


but don't some rifles shine a red dot on its target?


Laser sights. It's not part of a rifle, it's an add-on and they are used with both pistols and rifles, though they are more common on pistols due to range issues.

It's basically a laser pointer slung under the barrel of the weapon.

While they are a real thing, they are far more common in the movies than real life.

Tactical shooters like police/military that are most often depicted as using them in movies tend to avoid them in real life, because the dot is visible to the target which gives the shooter away which is bad if you are going for surprise and they can also be used to determine a shooter's location.

Replies:   AmigaClone  BlacKnight
AmigaClone

@Dominions Son


While they are a real thing, they are far more common in the movies than real life.


I suspect a lot of things involving firearms are a lot more common in movies than in real life.

AmigaClone

@PotomacBob

If you want to include vehicle mounted firearms, there are some experimental railguns.

All that I've seen mentioned are for mounting on ships, and some military land vehicles).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@AmigaClone

I suspect a lot of things involving firearms are a lot more common in movies than in real life.

Like hitting targets instead of just spraying bullets everywhere you can and praying at least one strikes your target somewhere.

Dominions Son

@AmigaClone

A lot of things involving firearms in movies are just plain fake.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@AmigaClone

If you want to include vehicle mounted firearms, there are some experimental railguns.


A railgun is not a firearm.

For electronics in vehicle mounted firearms, look to multi-barrel Gatling guns like the M134 minigun.

In the original Gatling guns, the barrels were turned by a hand crank, in modern versions they are typically driven by electric motors.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

A lot of things involving firearms in movies are just plain fake.


Outlining the dead body is fake too.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Outlining the dead body is fake too.


I had no idea.

NOT.

PS:

It's not just fake, it's stupid.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

On the other hand, allowing civilian consultants at the scene eg writer or mentalist, to discover and handle evidence without wearing gloves is obviously 100% correct.

AJ

Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

to discover and handle evidence without wearing gloves is obviously 100% correct.


It's not. If they allowed untrained civilians to handle evidence, a case would become almost impossible to prosecute successfully.

However, the basic premise at it's most generic isn't exactly completely fake either.

Real police departments do use outside consultants as subject matter experts in some areas (in real life, these are paid positions), psychiatry is the most common, and they may in some cases be given crime scene access after the scene has been cleared by the crime scene techs who do the bulk of the work of gathering physical evidence.

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

allowing civilian consultants at the scene


Lucifer.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
PrincelyGuy

Laser sights are pretty good for beginner shooters. It provides immediate feedback that where they think they are aiming is either right or wrong. It also allows the person to notice when they start flinching or reacting to the recoil before they have pulled the trigger. Of course, my dad had dummy rounds made up and would randomly put them in the magazine or cylinder. Nothing more embarrassing as flinching when it does not go boom and all of the cops around you start laughing.

The important thing is to have them shoot the same gun with the laser sight off just to prove that they do not need the crutch.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@PrincelyGuy

Laser sights are pretty good for beginner shooters. It provides immediate feedback that where they think they are aiming is either right or wrong.


That could work, but only if they are using the laser sight in conjunction with a scope or traditional sights.

However, the traditional technique for using laser sights, particularly with hand guns is to ignore the weapons integral sights and just look at where the dot is.

PrincelyGuy

Using the sights in conjunction with the laser is what I meant, but did not say. Ignoring the sights is great until the battery dies and you need to hit something smaller than the broadside of a barn.

pcbondsman

@PotomacBob

Electronics abound in the world of precision shooting; sniping in particular. There are telescopes available that have an accompanying "black box" that measures wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity. It also stores the detailed specifics of the round or rounds being used (muzzle velocity, bullet weight, bullet drop etc), all this data is collected massaged, and fed by bluetooth to the telescope to adjust the aiming point. I can't recall mention of it but would expect a range finder to be part of the package.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@pcbondsman

"black box" that measures wind speed and direction,

Not sure about that one. I have been on ranges where the wind direction reverses at points along the range and changes in velocity - a b****r to work out manually

Replies:   pcbondsman
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Lucifer.


Sadly that hasn't yet made it to network TV in the UK. Shame, because the adverts for it toot my horn.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Lucifer.

Sadly that hasn't yet made it to network TV in the UK.


Interesting since Lucifer is played by a UK actor.

It's very funny. Season 1 is funnier than the current season. One of the most funny parts in the beginning was Lucifer seeing a psychologist, talking about the problems he's having with his father and her not knowing he's the devil and his father is God. And then others see her too — a demon and Lucifer's brother, an angel. We know the truth so the interaction is hysterical.

pcbondsman

@sejintenej

I should have been more specific. The "black box" is small enough to be handheld by the spotter. It has it's own anemometer. Developed no doubt for military snipers. I don't recall if a price was mentioned but I expect it is steep and the things are probably verboten for competition shooting.

I'm rather certain the specific system I recall was featured in an "American Rifleman" article. I can't find it now but for PotomicBob do a search on "automated telescope system for snipers" for links to several systems that use lots of electronics as peripherals to firearms.

Not sure about that one. I have been on ranges where the wind direction reverses at points along the range and changes in velocity - a b****r to work out manually

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@pcbondsman

I should have been more specific. The "black box" is small enough to be handheld by the spotter. It has it's own anemometer. Developed no doubt for military snipers.


Is this what you were thinking of?

https://kestrelmeters.com/blogs/news/3456962-snipers-and-their-shooting-computers

Replies:   pcbondsman
StarFleet Carl

@PotomacBob

Is a scope electronic?


As others have mentioned, the scopes are still primarily optical. The scope on my AR does have a spot for batteries, simply to make the crosshairs illuminated. When I'm shooting at 200 yards, it's sometimes tough for me to tell, just using the regular cross hairs, where the center of the target is, because the black lines sort of cover the black circle on the target. By having both the elevation and windage lines light up, I can better control things, so that way I can see the markings to adjust at 100 yards and 300 yards.

Oh, and the scope makes it SO much easier to get tight shot groups at 200 yards than the iron sights that Uncle had me train on many decades ago.

One reason to have a laser on your pistol is simple. When you're in the dark and you know the bad guy is out there somewhere - especially in a rather large, open area - actually seeing that red dot show up lets you know where he his. Otherwise, it's pretty much not used, simply because unless you've taken the time to bore sight the thing, and you're also pretty calm (on a range), that laser is going to be jumping around all over the place.

Guys that do long shots with spotters tend to use more equipment. You're sending something downrange half a mile, having a ballistics computer is handy. Curvature of the earth CAN start to apply then.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

One reason to have a laser on your pistol is simple. When you're in the dark and you know the bad guy is out there somewhere - especially in a rather large, open area - actually seeing that red dot show up lets you know where he his.


Of course, it can also let the bad guy know you are there and at least what direction you are in.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

Of course, it can also let the bad guy know you are there and at least what direction you are in.


Keep in mind that in real life, unlike in the movies, there's no beam waving around that's visible to everyone. (Amazing how they always seem to have the handy fog or mist clouds so you can see those beams.) The laser itself only sends the light out in straight lines. So unless the laser beam intersects the eyes of the target, or there is something to scatter the beam (in which case it's basically useless, anyway, so why have it on?), your target WON'T see the source.

Ernest Bywater

@StarFleet Carl

your target WON'T see the source.


Not quite, and a lot depends on the laser being used. If the sighting laser hits you in the eye it can be like a bright light, but if you're in front of the rifle and within about 20 degrees of straight ahead you should be able to see the red dot of the light emitter if it's a red laser. There are some that use non-visible frequencies that need special glasses to allow you to see the dot on the target.

BlacKnight

@Dominions Son

Tactical shooters like police/military that are most often depicted as using them in movies tend to avoid them in real life, because the dot is visible to the target which gives the shooter away which is bad if you are going for surprise and they can also be used to determine a shooter's location.


In movies and TV, of course, the purpose of laser sights is not actually to assist aim (which is irrelevant), but in fact to show the audience and sometimes the characters that the character has guns pointed at them.

Though I saw a scene recently where the frankly implausible number of red dots that appeared, and lack of any shots (in either sense) establishing any actual shooters, led me to believe that the world's most over-hyped fictional detective actually got punk'd with a bunch of laser pointers. This remains my headcanon.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Dominions Son
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


Keep in mind that in real life, unlike in the movies, there's no beam waving around that's visible to everyone.


True, but the dot created on the target by a basic laser sight IS visible to everyone. And that by itself, without a visible beam, is enough to give away that you are out there, and approximate direction.

Capt. Zapp

@BlacKnight

the world's most over-hyped fictional detective actually got punk'd with a bunch of laser pointers.


If you are referring to Monk, then you are half right. He was in a classroom to give a talk (his assistant's daughter's class?) and the previous speaker had handed out the laser pointers.

Replies:   BlacKnight
pcbondsman

@Dominions Son

Is this what you were thinking of?

https://kestrelmeters.com/blogs/news/3456962-snipers-and-their-shooting-computers


Sounds similar but not really enough info to be positive. The Kestrel sounded closest to the system as I remember it. I actually remember more about the picture than the article. The spotter had the box in his hand. Looked to me to be about the width of three packs of cigarettes and about the same height, perhaps a bit longer than a king size. Anemometer was cup style on a short "post" on the left front corner of the box.

It's my understanding that the small ballistic calculators have been around for a while, the "new" part is the automatic integration with the scope. No reading out the numbers by the spotter to the shooter.

A bit of drift - I was once told that some snipers also take the Cornelius effect into consideration as well as curvature of the earth. That may have been smoke up my kilt.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@PotomacBob


When it comes to guns, I'm a know-nothing. Can someone tell me whether electronics have made their way into firearms? If so, what do the electronics accomplish for the weapon? Is a scope electronic?


Cliff notes version:

There are scopes that make use of various electronic capabilities, although that's mostly focused around the distance("sniper") shooting. Light amplification, range finding(distance to target so they can "rough in" how much "drop" will be present in the shot), are probably the two most common as they're the most idiot proof, but I'm sure the list goes on as others have already mentioned.

Otherwise, KISS(Keep It Simple --Insert favored word beginning with S here--) applies. Sure there are products on the market with exotic capabilities out there, but the reality is their usage is low.

The more complex you make the gun, the more complex its maintenance and use likewise becomes. Particularly as it adds more ways for the gun to not work as intended, which is as the penultimate "point and shoot" device out there.

In theory an electronic interlock is nice, until you have occasion to need use of that gun, and you don't have "the second factor" with you, or the gun decides to not recognize whatever you're using as that "2nd part" for whatever reason.

Basically, that concern right there means that anybody serious about buying a gun for personal protection will likely opt-out at present.

The risk of it not working when needed is simply viewed to be equal to, or worse, than the risk of having the gun used against them. The tech just isn't there yet.

Which also goes back to most of the "gun electronics" not actually being part of the gun, but accessories that go with it, like a rifle scope. If your scope fails, you can probably still fall back to either the iron gun sight or going "old school" and just sight off the barrel itself.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
PrincelyGuy

The risk of it not working when needed is simply viewed to be equal to, or worse, than the risk of having the gun used against them. The tech just isn't there yet.


Kinda like how often are the batteries dead in your flashlights when the electricity goes out at night? For me, that is about a 50-50 proposition. One reason I also have oil lamps. Now where did I leave those matches and the extra oil...Dang, who put a chair there?

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Not_a_ID


KISS(Keep It Simple --Insert favored word beginning with S here--)


Shooter

BlacKnight

@Capt. Zapp

No; Sherlock.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp  Not_a_ID
Dominions Son
Updated:

@pcbondsman


A bit of drift - I was once told that some snipers also take the Cornelius effect into consideration as well as curvature of the earth. That may have been smoke up my kilt.


Considering the record for distance sniper confirmed kill is 3,450 meters* and there are 7 confirmed sniper kills at over 2000 meters in this century, I wouldn't consider it all that implausible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest_recorded_sniper_kills#Confirmed_kills_1,250_m_(1,367_yd)_or_greater

The list shows one confirmed kill at over 2000 meters prior to 2000, but that was with an M2 .50 machine gun, not a sniper rifle.

*For shits and giggles, the manufacturer of the weapon used for the 3450 meter kill lists the weapons maximum effective range as 1,800 meters.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Capt. Zapp

@BlacKnight

No; Sherlock.


Ah. I haven't been following that one. Then again, I haven't been watching much of anything on the idiot box in a long time.

Not_a_ID

@BlacKnight

No; Sherlock


Silly, Shorty, Southpaw, Stupid, Shithead, Shitface, the list goes on...

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Sherlock in this case is a BBC TV series that puts a young Sherlock Homes in a modern setting.

The only reason I know that is my "cable" provider* carries BBCA which runs the series and I've watched some of it.

*Technically, I don't have cable, I get Internet and TV through AT&T Uverse.

StarFleet Carl

@Dominions Son

I wouldn't consider it all that implausible.


Not recognized by Guiness Book, and not in combat, but as reported here:

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/guns/2018/01/29/west-texasmarksman-reportedly-breaks-distance-record-3-mile-shot

That's 4,800 meters.

This was just marksmanship, not doing sniper stuff, but an interesting note in the article is:

"Poor had to account for variables that can alter a bullet's flight, including the shape of the earth. The earth curves nearly six feet over 3 miles, so he had to use an elevated stand to see his target. "

Darian Wolfe

@awnlee jawking

Lucifer cast member Lauren German is an entire brass section to me. Whew!

PotomacBob

@PotomacBob

Thanks to all for replies.

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